Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Melis called in with a report from the 12-day Mountaineering Course on the Eldridge Glacier. The are having snowball fights! They are getting fresh snow after having rain. They've been having a great time, learning how to build snow shelters, doing some rock climbing. Today they hope to do some ice climbing. She said to let the folks in Florida know that their girl rocks and is having a great time!
The forecast says it's going to keep raining or snowing on them for a while, they are keeping warm and dry and enjoying the beautiful place they are in. There is a chance they will get weathered in beyond their planned fly-out date, we'll keep you posted in case travel plans need to be adjusted. They have tons of food and fuel and could stay out there for a long time if need be. The instructors, Melis, Larry and Leighan, are all experienced Denali guides, in addition to being experienced instructors, and are used to waiting out the weather; they've had lots of practice! They'll keep the group climbing and learning as long as they are out there. The Alaska Range is such a beautiful, magical place, so they'll use any extra time to their advantage.
Here is a link to the weather forecast: http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?zoneid=AKZ145 They are "west of the Parks Highway".
They plan to move camp tomorrow, which is part of their curriculum. They learn to pack efficiently, how to balance out the weight for comfort and safety, how much gear to put in their sled, etc. They'll be roped up to each other and learn how to set up the rope for their packs and sleds to be linked into the safety system. They learned these basics early on in the course and have been practicing them since before they left AMS Headquarters in Talkeetna. Practice makes perfect!
Cheers from rainy Talkeetna,